Monday, 9 April 2012

Zesty Red Grapefruit Cupcakes with Homemade Candied Grapefruit Zest

Last week at the market there was a vender selling five grapefruit for £1. I have recently grown quite fond of grapefruit, so naturally I couldn’t resist such a bargain. I wasn’t sure what variety they were, but they turned out to be red grapefruit – my favourite, as I find they are slightly sweeter and less acidic than the white variety. After munching through my first one I decided to bake with some of them. I’ve used grapefruit once before in baking, when making biscotti, and it was so fresh and zesty that I was keen to incorporate it again. This time I decided on cupcakes.

To make doubly sure the red grapefruit flavour came though, I used it to separately flavour four component parts of the cupcakes! Fresh zest in the cake, a red grapefruit frosting, a grapefruit syrup and some homemade candied red grapefruit zest for decoration! Grapefruit all the way!

The syrup was a by-product of making the candied grapefruit zest, which was actually surprisingly easy. It was simply a matter of simmering some fine shreds of zest in sugar syrup, before tossing them in some caster sugar and leaving them to dry. The sugar syrup the zest simmered in took on a wonderful golden colour and extremely zingy flavour from the oils released from the zest. It was so good I couldn’t resist drizzling a bit over the top of each of the cupcakes before I piped the frosting on. It also made the cakes lovely and moist. There was a bit leftover and it tasted fabulous drizzled over my porridge the following morning. I bet it would also be great with a cheesecake or other dessert.

The finished cupcakes were soft and tender and there was no mistaking the red grapefruit. It was so fresh and zingy and seemed to linger on my tongue, tingling away for about 10 minutes after I’d finished the cupcake. It helped keep the sweetness in check too. It’s much more powerful than orange or lemon and oh so fruity.

Grapefruit is rather an overlooked citrus fruit, but I urge you to give it a chance. Even if you’re not a fan of the fruit itself, try baking with the zest for a truly amazing zingy experience!

Zesty Red Grapefruit Cupcakes with Homemade Candied Grapefruit Zest
Red Grapefruit Cupcakes
130g gluten free self raising flour (I used Doves Farm blend)
130g unsalted butter
130g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
Zest of ¼ red grapefruit

Red Grapefruit Frosting
130g unsalted butter
260g icing sugar
Zest of ¼ red grapefruit
30ml milk

Candied Red Grapefruit Zest
100ml water
100g caster sugar
Long strips of finely grated zest of 1 red grapefruit
50g extra caster sugar

Method - Candied Red Grapefruit Zest
Begin by making the candied grapefruit zest, as this needs time to dry.
Heat the water and 100g caster sugar together in a small pan, until the sugar has dissolved and bring to a simmer.
Take thin shreds off the outside of the grapefruit using a zester, rather than a grater, to create longer strips.
Place the zest in the hot sugar syrup and simmer for 20 minutes then remove from the heat.
Scatter the extra caster sugar onto a plate and use a fork to remove the zest from the syrup and place onto the sugar. Scatter more sugar on top and toss until well coated. Divide out so the zest is not all clumped together and leave to cool/set.
Pour the excess syrup into a jar and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Red Grapefruit Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 170C and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
Make sure the butter is very soft. Place all the ingredients and eggs into a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy.
Use the large ice cream scoop or tablespoon to divide the batter equally into each cupcake liner, filling quite full. Smooth out using a teaspoon.
Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly golden and springy to the touch.
Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Drizzle over 1teaspoon of the saved grapefruit syrup onto the top of each cupcake. Leave to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the frosting.

Red Grapefruit Frosting
Make sure you butter is at room temperature, or else heat it gently in the microwave until soft, but not melted. Beat together with the grapefruit zest, using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
Switch to a spatula and add half the icing sugar and mix until incorporated.
Add the milk, beating until smooth, followed by the rest of the icing sugar.
Beat again with the electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Place the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a spiked edged nozzle. Pipe onto the top of the cupcakes in lots of little peaks.
Top with a few shreds of the candied grapefruit zest and serve.
Makes 12 cupcakes


Caroline said...

They look delicious. I wonder why I've never baked anything with grapefruit? Hmm, I think I'll have to follow your example and use them.

This is a slightly sad confession, but my only real experience of grapefruit flavours is the diet drink 'One-Cal' that my grandma used to buy for her grandkids in the 80's. I always chose lemonade instead!!! I'm sure the actual thing is much nicer!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Nice idea using ruby red grapefruit, I like it to much more than the yellow one. And I agree, baking with it is just marvellous! :D

Nic said...

Would never have thought to use grapefruit in a cupcake, not that keen on them really - but if in a cake...

Do you ever use xanthan gum in your baking Katie?

Katie said...

Hi Nic,

The GF Doves flour mix I use does also conatin a bit of xanthan gum and if I ever make up my own mixes then I do use a smidgen of it. It does help the texture a bit.

However, if things contain a lot of whisked eggs then I find this also works just as well. The proteins in the eggs seem to help stabilise the texture.

Nic said...

Thanks so much! I didn't know that the GF Doves flour had it in, I must look out for it.

alanis - facbook said...

thanks you they look delicious.